KUALA LUMPUR | With the goal of pursuing a more inclusive Malaysia, plans to expand the Social Security Organisation’s (Sosco) benefits and protection to more groups are underway, says the Human Resources Ministry.

Its minister V. Sivakumar said that the plans would include the expansion and improvement of both existing and new social schemes under Sosco.

“We plan to review and make amendments to both the Employees’ Social Security Act and the Employment Insurance System Act.

“This is part of my commitment to ensuring ‘no one is left behind’ and that everyone gets the social protection that they deserve, which is in line with Pakatan Harapan’s overall manifesto.

“We are also planning to introduce social protection policies outside of those related to work accidents, maternity leave, or elderly protection,” he said in his speech during Sosco’s Chinese New Year ceremony yesterday.

Gift of giving: Sivakumar (left) handing angpau to the son of a Sosco recipient while MOHR vice-secretary (operations) Maniam Arumugam (on Sivakumar’s left) and Sosco chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed (on Maniam’s left) look on during the CNY celebration. — LOW BOON TAT/The Star

According to the ministry, some of the planned changes to Sosco include the expansion of the Invalidity Scheme to include both foreign and domestic workers, as well as the inclusion of self-employed workers in the current job loss protection policies under Sosco.

Sivakumar also projected that at least 500,000 housewives nationwide will be protected under the recently implemented Housewives’ Social Security Scheme 2022, aimed at providing social security protection to homemakers against domestic accidents and invalidity.

“I have instructed Sosco to start further spreading public awareness of the scheme through increased promotional activities, direct involvement, and campaigning this year,” he added.

As a reflection of Sivakumar’s and Sosco’s commitment to inclusiveness, yesterday’s Sosco Chinese New Year celebration ceremony saw the attendance of over 160 Sosco benefit recipients from all walks of life and races, from single mothers to orphans to persons with disabilities (OKU).

In addition to a spread of food that was carefully chosen for consumption by attendees from all cultures, attendees were also treated to a number of performances.

This included songs by local artistes, elaborate dance showcases, a martial arts display, as well as the traditional lion dance.

At the event, six people went on stage to receive their Sosco benefits along with the additional ang pow and Chinese New Year hampers from Sivakumar.

One of the recipients, Muhamad Shafiq Ikwan Awang Mihad, said he was grateful to Sosco for the assistance he received after a near-fatal traffic accident that left him disabled and unable to continue working as a food delivery rider.

“I had a fractured left femur and blood clots in my lungs. Luckily, I managed to recover after 292 days of treatment at a hospital.

“However, over 2cm of my left femur bone was shattered beyond repair and had to be removed permanently, with the resulting imbalance leaving me barely able to walk properly, let alone ride my motorcycle.”

Shafiq, 29, said he was very dejected initially as he could not earn a living for his family.

“But when I realised that I was eligible for Sosco’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme, I began to feel much more hopeful for the future,” he said.

Shafiq had received RM12,069.34 in aid from Sosco’s Temporary Disability Benefit during his 292 medical leave and is entitled to a further RM70,936.22 under Sosco’s Permanent Disability Benefits, which Shafiq said he would use to start his own business.

“I haven’t decided yet what business I would get into. But I do not want to solely depend on government aid to survive, as I want to set a good example for my children,” he added.